Friday, May 19, 2023

For the first time in nine years, Brendan Shanahan’s team feels like the bad old Leafs

There it is again, that funny feeling.

If you’re a Toronto Maple Leaf fan that’s old enough, you had it when Punch Imlach was doing Harold Ballard’s dirty work, shuffling Lanny McDonald out of town and antagonizing Darryl Sittler.

You had it on and off but mostly on under Gerry McNamara, and Gord Stellick, and Floyd Smith.

It went away when Ballard died and Cliff Fletcher arrived, and most stayed hidden on the way to the Pat Quinn era. But then it came back with John Ferguson Jr. We thought it was gone when Brian Burke arrived, but it wasn’t, and by the time Dave Nonis was in control, it was almost overwhelming.

And then, under Brendan Shanahan, it went away. Until today.

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